DIANA VREELAND, LAUREN HUTTON, AND THE NEW AMERICAN LOOK
"She is the best of America,” said Diana Vreeland of Lauren Hutton. “She is the person people want to look at.” As Editor in Chief at Vogue in the ‘60s, Mrs. Vreeland introduced countless new beauty trends, replacing the passive, swan-like beauties of years gone by with energetic and unconventional models that reflected the excitement of the times; in Lauren Hutton she saw the face of the “New American Look.”
In 1966, Hutton got a job as fit model at the Vogue offices; it was there that Mrs. Vreeland laid eyes on her for the first time. “You have quite a presence, ” she remarked, whisking the young girl into a studio with Richard Avedon who, the story goes, had rejected Hutton at three former castings. The images shot that day captured the joie de vivre and playful charm that would propel Hutton to supermodel status. As she describes it: "It's still the best thing I've ever done. Working with him was like being in the sandbox with another kid." Hutton appeared on the cover of Vogue that very year, and their relationship became one of Avedon’s most important collaborative partnerships with a model.
Mrs. Vreeland had the vision to recognize the many different types of groundbreaking beauty, heralding new looks in the pages of Vogue. Hutton defined a new look that was happening in America: she, and models of the same ilk that followed, radiated healthy, natural beauty along with a sweet-yet-cheeky attitude.
As Alexander Vreeland puts it, “Lauren Hutton was a whole new phenomenon as she was very American and had an athletic, girl-next-door beauty. She was not a cockney pixie like Twiggy or a German princess like Verushka, or a quirky beauty like Penelope or Angelica, but a wholesome, fit and confident woman.”
Hutton would continue to collaborate with Avedon and other leading photographers for decades to come, gracing the cover of Vogue over twenty-five times. She also went on to revolutionize model compensation with the first-ever exclusive cosmetics contract with Mrs. Vreeland’s old favorite, Revlon. “I am always amazed at how many moods she can project,” Mrs. Vreeland has said. “Sometimes she has the eyes of a baby, the questioning look of a child. Then she has this very special electricity. Her reactions are so fast. I like her speed, her timing." It was these qualities and her “presence” that ultimately landed her the role she was born to play: Hollywood actress.
Photograph: Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel pg 172-173
Spreads by: Richard Avedon, Vogue, November 1st, 1970